From L.A. Times by Teresa Watanabe:
California public schools lost ground this year in overall academic performance for the first time in a decade, but more than half met state goals for achievement on reading and math standardized tests, according to data released Thursday.

Los Angeles Unified bucked the statewide decline, recording the second-highest gain in academic performance among the state's 10 largest school systems. Among them, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino City school districts improved over last year, but the other seven slipped, reflecting a fall that officials attributed to severe budget cuts and to more demanding national learning standards being phased in.

L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy said he was "pleasantly stunned" by the district's strong performance compared with the state's. Students struggling with English recorded the largest gains in district history, and those with disabilities and from lower-income homes also boosted their achievement with improvements that outpaced the statewide average. African American and Latino students also did better than their peers statewide.

"These are the fruits of a very focused agenda," Deasy said. "We have continued to grow despite the absolute worst in budget cuts, and that is testament to the quality of our employees and how hard our students are working."

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